Monday, October 28, 2013

Royal Marines Museum

Commander K. at the Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth

Visit the Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth and you will be able to explore the rich historical heritage of this fabled military unit (

Hannah Snell tending bar
Royal Marine Museum, Portsmouth
The Royal Marines were formed to serve aboard the Royal Navy's ships in 1664.  Their motto was and remains "Per Mare, Per Terram" ("By Land, By Sea").  Those who suppose that the issue of "women in combat" ( are likely unacquainted with the story of Hannah Snell.  In 1747 Snell, dressed in men's clothes, served in the Royal Marines siege of French-occupied Pondicherry.  She was wounded 11 times and later awarded a pension by the royal Chelsea Hospital.

Royal Marines fire the "shot heard round the world" in 1775
In 1775 a detachment of Royal Marines under Major Pitcairn fired on American militia near Lexington -- it was the shot heard round the world.  Pitcairn would later be killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Royal Marine kit, HMS Victory
146 Royal Marines, commanded by Captain Adair fought aboard the HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  Unlike Nelson's sailors, none of them were 'pressed men.  The Royal Marines are said to have swept the French infantry from the rigging of the French Redoutable with musket fire, avenging Nelson's death by killing his assassin (see post HMS Victory...  2nd Lieutenant Thomas Wearing was the only Royal Marine to be present at both the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Napoleon Chair, Royal Marine Museum
Royal Marines aboard the HMS Bellerophon guarded Napoleon on his journey to his final exile on St. Helena.  The museum has a chair used by Napoleon.

Royal Marine Officer, Royal Marine Museum
The Royal Marines served throughout the British Empire in the 19th century.  Some even deployed in a Camel corps in the Sudan campaign of 1884.

Royal Marine Commando, WWII
Royal Marines served with British forces in both World Wars during the 20th century.  During World War II the Royal Marine Commandos were created.  On D-Day June 6, 1944, the largest amphibious invasion in history, over 17,500 Royal Marines participated; there were no US Marines at D-day due to their deployment in the Pacific theatre.

HMS Victory, Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth
Royals Marines served in Iraq from 2003 to 2009 where they saw heavy fighting near Basra.  The Royal Marines have served in Afghanistan from 2002 to the present.

The most recent news about the Royals Marines was an unpleasant reminder about the eternal brutalities of war.  A few, less than brilliant, Royal Marines who filmed themselves killing an unarmed Afghan prisoner are facing prosecution

Today there are about 6,500 Royals Marines around the world who represent about 15 percent of the Royal Naval Service.

Per Mare, Per Terram

Commander Kelly says, "Marines, Strike up the band!"

You can now find Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades,  here or on Amazon

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